My fellow Americans, change has arrived in Washington. Not as much in the area of foreign policy and homeland defense, because I realize that my predecessor and distant cousin Dick Cheney had it right in the hours and days following 9/11 when he set this great Republic on a war footing to defeat the enemy and protect the homeland. Seeing as I would rather not have another 9/11 – or worse – on my watch, the change will come primarily in the area of economic policy, where my predecessor presided over many failures and set a dangerous course for this country, particularly in the last year.
My new administration promises a clean break with the failed policies of the past. In the last eight years, government spending grew to new heights, from $2 trillion per year to over $4 trillion this year. This stratospheric rise in the growth of the US government’s burden on the people is nothing less than a crime against our beloved constitution and the intent of the Fathers of the 1776 Declaration of Independence. In recent times, the US government has failed to impose on itself any of the restraints that have made this country so special for so long.
To the contrary, the US government is now engaged in a long list of activities and spending not authorized by our most fundamental governing document. Working with Congress, I will seek to restore the US government to its constitutional limits in my first year in office. What this means in practice is a rapid shut-down of all government departments except the Departments of Justice, Defense and Homeland Security. This means that all these other unconstitutional creations of the 20th century, such as the Departments of Education, Energy, Commerce, Health and Human Affairs, Interior will all cease operations in this glorious year of 2009.
The Federal government’s budget deficit, which the first time exceeds $1 trillion, will also be eliminated this year. Yet, I will also abolish all of the destructive and unjust taxes that have mushroomed over the last 95 years in particular: the income tax, the death tax, the capital gains tax, the corporate tax and the dividend tax. These tax cuts will once again make the US economy competitive with the countries around the world where economic growth and liberty has recently exceeded our own.
My first budget, which I intend to deliver to Congress already this afternoon in the hope of a speedy approval, will authorize total Federal expenses of less than $1 trillion over the next year, which is an amount ten times greater than President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 budget. This will fund an efficient Federal judiciary, our military defense, and the ongoing war against terrorism.
What the new budget will not do, because it is being returned to its constitutional limitations, is to send checks – to anybody or anything. If you or your company has an addiction to receiving money from the government, this will be the year when you sober up. It will not matter whether you are rich, poor or in-between – the time of government spending money on you are now over. Every single government program providing services or sending out checks, will come to an end. You and your company will live in the freedom of keeping what you earn and receive in voluntary help from your friends, family and any charitable institutions, but the mirror image of this blessing of freedom is that government will not support anybody or anything. I am breaking the back on welfare state dependency and entitlement by going cold turkey on all recipients, large and small.
This restoration of the constitutional legitimacy of the US government will be funded by a simple flat tax on US adults: At $1 trillion in total annual Federal expenses, a number which may end up even lower, it represents a flat $5,000 tax on each of our 200 million US adults. There will no longer be any need to file an income tax return, keeping any receipts, paying a tax preparer, or equivalent. This flat $5,000 tax will be due in monthly installments of $417, equivalent of $13.70 per day.
I expect the impact on the economy from this simple flax tax to be profound. People will be able to work as much as they want, and invest in any way they want, knowing that every incremental dollar they earn will be theirs to keep. All of the lost productivity resulting from tax-avoidance and the administration associated with corporate payrolls, will remain with us only in the form of an unpleasant memory, similar to the memories of living behind the Iron Curtain and Berlin Wall before 1989. Small business will be able to form without any bureaucratic hassle. The entrepreneurial spirit will be unshackled from all red tape, bureaucracy and tax disincentives.
My plan to cut over 75% of all Federal government expenses, and fund the remainder with a flat $5,000 tax, will also help cure political corruption in Washington DC. Lobbyists come to us because we have money to spend, and they seek to maximize their share of the pie. My cold turkey approach to restoring the US government to its constitutionally legitimate size will make almost all lobbyists obsolete: If the size of the pie is zero, there is nothing for which you can lobby.
So in closing, I can say with confidence that the 75% or greater reduction in size of the US government will bring about a rebirth of the era of freedom, rugged individualism and self-reliance. It will allow the US government to focus on its constitutionally narrow purpose of securing the property rights of our individual citizens, and to protect our country from those who seek to do us harm. This focus will enable us to perform these duties better. With this, I salute our constitution, our Founders and our Declaration of Independence. Now let’s get on with it. Thank you, and God Bless America.